Microsoft, VA Work to Bring Broadband to Rural Veterans

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Some 2.7 million veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) live in rural areas. More than 40 percent lack internet access at home, according to the VA.

In order to bring telehealth services to these veterans, Microsoft says it will expand its 20-year partnership with the VA and provide capital, technology expertise and training resources to underserved communities through its Airband initiative. 

Through Airband, the company partners with ISPs and uses TV White Spaces to deliver broadband connectivity, Inside Towers reported.

“Partnering with ISPs to serve those most in need is an effective strategy to make progress quickly on this important issue,” says Microsoft in a blog post. “Our work with VA builds on those lessons and approach, which has resulted in partnerships that will bring connectivity to 1 million unserved rural residents in 16 states to date, with a plan to reach 3 million by 2022.” 

Microsoft and the VA will identify veterans in need. The company will also provide the veterans in newly connected communities with digital skills training so they can take advantage of the tools and services connectivity enables, including telehealth services provided by VA.

Through Microsoft’s Software & Systems Academy, veterans gain career skills required for today’s digital economy. The program provides veterans with an 18-week (or two nine-week terms) training for high-demand careers. Graduates gain an interview for a full-time career at Microsoft or one of the company’s 400+ hiring partners.

May 28, 2019

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